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“This is a fascinating book, elegantly translated into English by Shama Askari. It comprises a novella and 13 short stories with two being the author’s own translation. Written by Ibn-e-Sa’id (better known to his contemporaries as M.H. Askari), these literary compositions. are unique in many ways. Ibn-e-Sa’id started his career in the closing years of the Second World War as an officer in the public relations department of the British Indian Army. From there he got a ringside view of the war and the surrender of Japan. He also personally experienced the sensitivity of his Indian colleagues fighting for a power that had occupied their own country and forced the war on them. Ibn-e-Sa’id also witnessed the start of the age of decolonization and how these events led to the break-up of societies. Most of the stories are written against this backdrop and subtly capture the paradoxes and nuances of these extraordinary global developments. The author’s insight into politics, society and human nature is so profound that his writing is no less than prescient, considering that these stories were written more than six decade ago. We read about a princely state and its Muslim elites and their Baray Sarkar who are so detached from their own non-Muslim population in lifestyle and culture that they appear to show more allegiance to their departing foreign rulers. A story openly describes the financial corruption that accompanies business deals in this time of transition. There is actually a Mister Five Percent involved in a sugar mill transaction. The polarization and globalization of politics and the return of racism emerge in many stories. Ibn-e-Sa’id’s book must be read for us to understand what is happening in Pakistan today.” Zubeida Mustafa Journalist and author “Ibn-e-Sa’id’s fictions are an invaluable addition to the growing body of rediscovered Urdu literature. His stories, many of them set in South East and East Asia during the Second World War, are elegantly crafted and bear the hallmark of lived experience. His short novels are gripping and unusual. It is a delight and a revelation to see so much of this fine author’s work in translation in this generous selection of long and short stories:’ Aamer Hussein Author.
Author: ASIF FARRUKHI
Publisher: LIGHTSTONE PUBLISHERS
Author: ASIF FARRUKHI